Michael Acosta

Michael Acosta



As a licensed professional fishing guide, Michael Acosta shows you how to find them. A Granbury resident of more than 35 years, he has been fishing all of his life, and has been a licensed guide since 1998.

Want to catch fish and a lot of them? Get on most any area lake this time of the year and watch the gulls. The fall/winter feeding frenzy is here.

Sand bass, stripers and/or hybrid stripers will gang up on the baitfish and feed voraciously pushing these baitfish to the surface or near the surface. Even black bass, catfish and crappie at times will do the same. This sets up an easy meal for the birds (namely the gulls, turns and even pelicans) on our area lakes.

These birds will point you to active fish.  Sometimes they will be near structures and sometimes they will just be out in open water.  These fish are typically in a feeding frenzy, so most any shad imitation bait will work.

Birds can also fool you on the water.  Sometimes the birds will be working cormorants diving for shad instead of feeding fish.  A cormorant is a bird related to the pelican that arrives on our area lakes in the fall/winter. Some folks locally call them water turkeys, but actually that is another similar species.  Many times there will be a combination of predator fish and cormorants feeding on the same school(s) of baitfish, therefore you don’t always want to write off an area if you see some cormorants.

Watch the birds closely to see if they are diving on surfacing fish, and you will be able to tell. Cormorants are real spooky birds and they will usually fly away as you approach.  If the gulls leave too, there may not be any predator fish active in that area.  The gulls were more than likely just looking for an easy meal from the cormorants.

Invest in a good set of binoculars. They will help you survey a body of water for active fish and birds without having to drive all over.

As you approach a group of birds it is a good idea to do so using your electric motor, or drift toward the feeding fish. You don’t want to spook the feeding fish by running through them or running too close with your big motor. This happens time and time again on the water, some people will unknowingly drive right through the feeding fish with their big motor and ruin the fishing for everyone else.

Other folks knowingly will either troll through the middle of the fish with their big motor or will be surveying the area with their graph while running their big motor.  Please don’t do this. If you have to troll, try to keep to the edge of the fish and birds if other boats are fishing.  Sometimes the fish will regroup and start feeding again, so try to be patient if this happens.

I have written about fishing under the birds many times before.  Fishing under the birds can occur in most every season, but the abundance of birds in the fall and winter far exceed the other seasons.  The more birds the more competition for food and the more apt the birds are to work the lake looking for feeding fish.  These birds are the anglers’ friends.

They have tremendous eyesight and can see things way below the surface.  If the fish are not real active, some birds may be hovering over an area where some fish are feeding deeper in the water column.  The birds are hoping that they will push some baitfish up.  Those areas can be great to work. Working jigs or swimbaits through a school of bait and fish in deeper water may be the pattern of the day.  Many folks believe that they have to throw and retrieve and never get their bait down deep enough.  Many times I will have to go to 30 or 40 feet down to get a bite and depending on the reservoir, sometimes even deeper.

In fact, I generally prefer to fish below the surface-feeding fish where the bigger fish are usually waiting for an injured baitfish to float their way.  

Make sure you dress for the weather and, if you can pick your dates, fish between passing cool fronts. 



The fishing on Granbury is good to excellent on most areas of the lake.  Some white bass are being caught on the upper ends from Hunter Park upstream.  Best striped bass reports are from Striper Alley on the lower ends to Indian Harbor.  Black bass continue to be good to 6 pounds worked on points and structure on the  upper ends.  Some good top water action is reported near main lake points.

I did not get a crappie report this week.  Blue and yellow catfish continue to be good to  excellent to 25-plus pounds on cut shad mid-lake to Hunter Park.  Channel cats are numerous and are being caught in numbers on baited holes.


On other reservoirs, Lake Whitney and  Possum Kingdom Lake limits of striped bass are reported.  Look for the birds.  On Whitney, best reports are coming from near Steele Creek to the state park (look for the  birds).  On Possum Kingdom, look for fish from Broadway to the Peanut Patch.

michael.acosta@att.net | 254-396-4855